Really interesting book. Learned a lot and got very involved in the plot and the vivid characters. What a daring gamble: maybe people could learn to like coffee and there might be money in selling it ! Will definitely read other books by Lliss. End of the book went on longer than needed (reduced its rating by half a star). It dragged in the final 100 pages or so.
Excellent for both mystery and historical fiction fans, this novel takes place in Amsterdam in the 1600s at the dawn of commodity trading. Miguel Lienzo, a Portuguese Jew who fled the inquisitions, is a disgraced trader and a widower to boot, and risks his livelihood in an alliance with a mysterious Dutch woman over the future of a new product - coffee. David Liss writes a remarkable tale, giving absorbing historical details of Jews living in Renaissance-era Europe, as not only does Miguel have to navigate the trading floor, but dodge enemies within his own close-knit community in exile. Now commodities trading might not seem like an exciting read, but it's very much like gambling, and LIss is an expert at explaining the process and bringing the reader along with the rush as markets rise and fall and traders jump on (or off) the bandwagon. Also try Liss' other historical novels including A CONSPIRACY OF PAPER or AN INSTANCE AT THE FINGERPOST by Iain Pears.
Started it but found it not as interesting as I thought it would be. Will try another books by same author.
Historical fiction set in the seventeenth century around the stock market in Amsterdam, this was a very interesting read. The main character is a Portuguese Jew who has escaped the Inquisition and come to Amsterdam where there is more tolerance for Jews and opportunities. However he has lost much on the stock market, is a widower and is currently at the mercy of his younger brother with whom he lives, and the religious council whom he has offended. Because of all the back and forth between Miguel's problems, the novel was not as entertaining as I was hoping. However, I enjoyed the historical awareness.
This engaging story about the politics of money and power is set in Amsterdam in 1659. Fluctuations in the brandy markets plunge Jewish trader Miguel Lienzo deeply in debt. A beautiful and charming woman of considerable business sense lures him into a dangerous partnership.
Success in this endeavour, trading in a new and marvelous commodity, coffee, promises to remake his fortune.
But he is challenged every step of the way... by his own brother, by his brother’s pretty wife, by his trading partners, and by Solomon Parido, the head of the Jewish community in Amsterdam, all of whom have agendas of their own.
The ending ties up all the many loose ends and resolves the bewildering mysteries Lienzo encounters on his journey.
In the process we learn about the life of Jews and women in this period and even more about how the modern stock market got its beginnings.
The book is a little slow in getting started, but once we get into the serious wheeling and dealing, the pace picks up. A good historical read.
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